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The Costs of Reproductive Health Restrictions

September 13, 2021

Access to comprehensive reproductive health care is central to gender equity and women's full participation in the workplace. For businesses, restrictions on access to reproductive health care are not only at odds with stated corporate values, such as equity and inclusion, they also affect the ability of companies to deliver on their value propositions.In recent decades, a rise in state efforts to limit access to comprehensive reproductive health care has threatened women's equality and participation in the workforce and put state and regional economies at risk. Between January 1st and April 29, 2021 alone, 536 abortion restrictions, including 146 abortion bans, were introduced across 46 states. Sixty-one of those restrictions have been enacted across 13 states, including eight bans. The effect of these restrictions is amplified by federal policies such as the Hyde Amendment, which limits the use of federal dollars for abortion. These measures fall hardest on women that already face systemic obstacles accessing health care and economic opportunities—including Black women, Hispanic women, low-income women, rural women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and more.  To date, the economic costs of these restrictions have not been fully articulated.This new tool seeks to capture the costs of reproductive health restrictions at the state level.

Women's Access to Quality Jobs In Mississippi

February 1, 2018

Research conducted in collaboration with the Institute for Women's Policy Research, finds that for sustained economic security and stability, work should pay a living wage, provide workers with sufficient hours of work (full-time, full-year employment), and provide access to health insurance, a pension, and the flexibility for working women and men to balance work and family. Too many jobs fail the test. The earnings of women workers, especially Black and Hispanic women, are even lower than the median for all Mississippi workers.

The Status of Women in Hawai'i

November 1, 2017

In a report commission by the Women's Fund of Hawai'i researchers from the Institute for Women's Policy Research, (IWPR) found that though there have been important gains in areas like education and health insurance coverage, women still face a widening pay gap and stagnant wages. Nearly four in ten Pacific Islander women are in poverty, compared with only one in ten women in Hawaii overall.

Child Care Assistance for College Students with Children: An Opportunity for Change in Washington State

October 1, 2017

Publicly funded child care assistance helps many low-income parents afford child care while earning a postsecondary credential that can lead to long-lasting economic security. States have flexibility in setting eligibility requirements for receiving subsidies funded by the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program (Adams et al. 2014; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2016). Compared with other states, Washington imposes unusually strict requirements, including work requirements and degree limitations, for parents in job training and education programs who wish to receive child care assistance (Eckerson et al. 2016). Changes to Washington State's eligibility rules for child care assistance receipt would help parents attain credentials that lead to stable, high-quality jobs with family-sustaining wages. Increasing postsecondary attainment among low-income parents could also reduce poverty over the long term, reduce reliance on public benefit programs, help employers meet the demand for skilled workers, and strengthen the state's economy.

The Economic Drivers and Consequences of Sex Trafficking in the United States

September 27, 2017

Like intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and stalking, human trafficking has significant economic consequences for victims. While data on the prevalence of human trafficking in the United States are scarce, due to the covert nature of the crime, some research suggests that trafficking is widespread. In 2016, the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (National Hotline) received 26,727 reports of human trafficking in the United States, resulting in 7,621 cases referred to law enforcement—a 36.7 percent increase from 2015 (National Human Trafficking Hotline 2016). Sex trafficking represented the majority (73.3 percent) of the cases referred by the National Hotline in 2016; labor trafficking represented 14.0 percent of cases, 3.5 percent of cases were dual sex and labor trafficking victimizations, and 9.2 percent were unclassified (Polaris Project 2017). Human trafficking generates large illegal profits which, combined with the perceived low risk of arrest and prosecution for traffickers, help to fuel trafficking (Dank et al. 2014). The International Labor Organization estimated that human trafficking globally generates $150 billion in illegal profits a year—$99 billion from sex trafficking and $51 billion from labor trafficking (International Labor Office 2014). The report also estimated annual profits generated per victim were $21,800 for sex trafficking and $4,800 for victims trafficked for construction, manufacturing, mining, and utilities globally. The cost of human trafficking to victims is significant and often life-long. Victims often experience wage theft (Owens et al. 2014); suffer substantial economic costs due to physical, sexual, and psychological abuse (Busch-Armendariz et al. 2016); and due to a lack of legal work histories face diminished economic opportunity. In addition, because commercial sex is illegal in most of the United States, many sex trafficking victims become involved with the justice system, and are criminalized despite laws protecting victims (Barnard 2014). This briefing paper focuses on the economic implications of sex trafficking within the United States, the economic factors that can increase risk of exploitation, the economic effects of victimization, and the challenges and opportunities facing service providers, the justice system, and policymakers to reduce trafficking and its economic harms.

Single Mothers in College: Growing Enrollment, Financial Challenges, and the Benefits of Attainment

September 20, 2017

Single student mothers are growing in both absolute numbers and as a share of the college population. They often face significant financial and time-related obstacles that make it difficult for them to persist to graduation. Investing in programs and supports that target the needs of single mothers has the potential to improve their rates of college attainment, and increase earnings, which can lead to a range of multigenerational benefits. This briefing paper provides data on single mothers in postsecondary education and discusses the potential benefits of increasing their college attainment rates for individuals, families, and society as a whole.The number of single mothers in college more than doubled between the 1999-00 and 2011-12 school years, to reach nearly 2.1 million students—or 11 percent of all undergraduates—as of 2012 (Figure 1; IWPR 2017a). The growth in single mothers in college was more than twice the rate of growth seen among the overall undergraduate student population (42 percent) over the same time period (IWPR 2017a). Among female undergraduates, 19 percent were single mothers as of 2011-12 (IWPR 2017b).

Single Mothers Overrepresented at For-Profit Colleges

September 6, 2017

Analysis of the 2011-12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study data by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) finds that three in ten single mothers in college attend private, for-profit schools, a larger share than students of any other family type (Figure 1). At for-profit institutions, single mothers account for 26 percent of the student body, yet they are only 11 percent of all undergraduate students. College students who are parents of dependent children are more likely than their counterparts without children to attend for-profit institutions, and single parents are more likely than married parents to attend a for-profit school (Figure 1).

Tackling Childcare: The Business Case for Employer-Supported Childcare

September 1, 2017

Almost one in 10 of the world's population, 679 million, are children younger than five years old. To thrive and develop, these children and their older siblings need care. Yet in many parts of the world, childcare remains scarce. Globally, just over half of the children under age five benefit from a preschool program. Formal childcare is often outside the reach of lowand middle-income employees. For those who can afford it, available options are often limited and poorly aligned with full-time working hours. Access to care is particularly lacking for children younger than three.For employers, the lack of good quality and affordable childcare for their employees can translate into higher turnover and absenteeism, lower productivity, and difficulty recruiting skilled employees. This is because the unavailability or unaffordability of care affects the choices that parents make regarding the type of work that they do, whether they stay at home, or how they combine work with care. For families, gaps in access to quality care can mean less paid working time and lower household incomes.Because women are more likely than men to bear childcare responsibilities, lack of childcare is a major barrier to women's full and equal participation in paid work. According to the International Labour Organization, globally, women's labor force participation rate is just over 49 percent, nearly 27 percentage points lower than the rate for men. A McKinsey Global Institute study estimated that closing gender gaps in economic participation would increase global gross domestic product (GDP) by 26 percent by 2025, adding $12 trillion. Evidence from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries suggests that access to subsidized childcare can have a significant positive impact on women's employment rates and the number of hours that women work.Policymakers internationally are recognizing the importance of access to childcare for both economic and gender equality. To date, 192 nations have signed the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which include the target, "By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education." In countries such as Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, India, Japan, Jordan, and Turkey, statutes require employers to provide or support childcare. Even when not driven by regulatory compliance, many employers are providing childcare supports as part of their general compensation strategy to achieve better business outcomes. Yet there is a lot more that can be done through partnerships and collaboration between the public and private sectors and civil society organizations.For the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries, improving access to childcare goes hand in hand with fostering workplace gender diversity and helping parents enter and advance in the workforce while enabling companies to strengthen their bottom line. IFC's focus on removing barriers, such as lack of childcare, to women's (and men's) access to more and better jobs is embedded in the World Bank Group's Gender Strategy and IFC's vision focused on creating markets, particularly in fragile, conflict-affected, and low-income countries. In countries where employer supported childcare is mandatory, IFC is working with its clients to substantiate the business case and to help them go beyond compliance and implement childcare strategies best suited to their business needs, thus resulting in better business results.

Access to Paid Sick Time in Austin, Texas

August 29, 2017

Approximately 37 percent of workers in Austin lack paid sick time, and low-income and part-time workers are especially unlikely to be covered. Access to paid sick time promotes safe and healthy work environments by reducing the spread of illness (Kumar, et al. 2013; Drago and Miller, 2010) and workplace injuries (Asfaw, Pana-Cryan, and Rosa 2012), reduces health care costs (Miller, Williams, and Yi 2011), and helps working adults fulfill caregiving responsibilities by reducing work-family conflict (Allen, et al. 2014; DeRigne, Stoddard-Dare, and Quinn 2016). This briefing paper presents estimates of access to paid sick time in Austin by sex, race and ethnicity, sector of employment, occupation, part/full-time employment status, and earnings levels through analyses of government data sources, including the 2013–2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) and the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS).

The Economic Cost of Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking

August 14, 2017

Intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual assault, and stalking have profound economic effects on victims and survivors. The physical aspects of violence often result in significant medical costs and time off from work. The long-term psychological consequences may hinder victims' ability to study or hold a job; in some cases, perpetrators directly sabotage their victims' employment. Economic abuse, which can take a range of forms—including preventing access to financial resources and generating unauthorized debt—can leave victims facing economic insecurity and poor credit. Seeking safety is often financially prohibitive, reducing a victim's ability to leave the abuser and recover.This fact sheet summarizes findings from research literature on the economic consequences and costs of IPV, sexual assault, and stalking for victims and survivors. The costs highlighted include medical expenditures, lower wages resulting from diminished educational attainment, lost wages from missed work and job loss, debt and poor credit, and costs associated with housing instability.

Supportive Services in Workforce Development Programs: Administrator Perspectives on Availability and Unmet Needs

December 13, 2016

This report presents findings from a national, online survey of 168 administrators of job training and career and technical education programs. It examines administrators' perspectives on the role of supportive services such as child care and transportation assistance in improving program completion, the availability of supportive services across different types of training programs, the unmet support needs of job training participants, and sources of funding and cost-effective strategies for providing supportive services. The report was informed by expert interviews on the need for supportive services in the workforce development system and promising models for providing these services. It is the second report of a larger Institute for Women's Policy Research project that is funded by the Walmart Foundation. The first report in the series, Supportive Services in Job Training and Education: A Research Review, presents findings from a review and analysis of literature on the importance, effectiveness, and availability of supportive services for participants in job training programs in the United States.

Child Care for Parents in College: A State-by-State Assessment

September 1, 2016

Child care is a crucial support for the 4.8 million parents in college, but it is difficult for students to find and afford. Balancing the responsibilities of school, family, and work, student parents with young children rely on affordable, reliable child care arrangements to manage the many demands on their timewhile pursuing a postsecondary credential ( Gault et al. 2014). Much of student parents' need for care goes unmet, however, contributing to their low rates of degree attainment: only one-third attain a degree or certificate within six years of enrollment (Gault et al. 2014; Miller, Gault, and Thorman 2011). For many of the parents who leave school without earning a credential, better access to child care could have helped them avoid taking a break or dropping out completely (Hess et al. 2014; Johnson et al. 2009).Student parents' ability to find and pay for child care varies by state. Differences in the availability of child care on college campuses and in the restrictiveness of state eligibility rules for child care assistance means that many student parents have limited access to the services they need to complete school. This briefing paper analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Education on the share of public institutions that provide campus child care, and reviews current state child care subsidy rules, to assess state variation in the challenges facing student parents' access to affordable, quality child care.